When Rep. Herb Clark spoke to the legislative committee considering a grant that he was sponsoring for the Katahdin Cultural Center, he referred to those who voiced opposition to it as a "small group of insurgents." There has been a small group of people who have been extremely vocal in Millinocket, but they have a big group of people supporting them.
Many of these vocal people have supported Rep. Herb Clark throughout his political career. It is because of their votes that Rep. Clark has been voted back into office for so many years.
They were not insurgents when they voted for Rep. Clark. They were not insurgents when they called him to let them know how they felt about the issues that were important to them.
They were using the rights that they have as citizens to be involved in the political process. Insurgents they are not, but citizens, some of whom are on fixed incomes and they want their tax dollars spent wisely; as such, they felt that the culture center was not a good investment for their government to spend their money on.
The three members of the town council who did not support the culture center were not insurgents, but councilmen who were doing what they were elected to do - looking out for the best interest of their town and for the citizens who voted them into office.
To call three members of the town council insurgents, along with the very people who have supported you all these years has many of the citizens who you are supposed to be representing very angry, and they are very vocally expressing their anger with you.
Millinocket, like Calais, can not afford a Cultural Center. If people want to invest in a venture like a culture center, they are certainly free to do so. If the people of Millinocket want to give money to a cultural or community center, they also are free to do so as well, but without any tax dollars going towards it.
The people of Millinocket had many questions regarding the Cultural Center, but with the lead reporter of the town’s only print newspaper very involved with the project, and with the father of the editor of the said paper also involved with the same project, there was no unbiased reporting, nor were there any questions asked about the lack of accountability with this project.
Even without any information in the press about anything that the people needed to know, they were nevertheless able to look at this project and see that nothing was being done, and that money had been spent without any accountability. They were able to form their own opinions, and a lot of them did not like what they were seeing. They also realized that when a reporter for the press is part of a project, she will not give an unbiased view. This is called a conflict of interest.
To the nine members of the committee who voted not to support the cultural center, we thank you for listening to the people who sent you letters and e-mail about this project.
We are a group of people who have been asking for accountability for many years. We are a group of people who know that, too often our voices have not been heard from our local elected officials.
Insurgents we are not, but citizens of a democratic nation, people who know that we have the right to express our views; and as such, we should be able to express those views without the person who is supposed to be representing us calling us insurgents.
President John F. Kennedy wrote a book call "Profiles in Courage." We did not see much courage from Rep. Herb Clark, but we did see three members of our council stand up for what they believed in, willing to listen to the people who elected them.
It was not misinformation that the people had, however often some people throw that word out there, but information received from news sources which were not a part of the cultural center; and therefore, unlike the lead reporter for the Katahdin Press, they held no bias in favor of the project.